2020 Georgia Code
Title 40 - Motor Vehicles and Traffic
Chapter 8 - Equipment and Inspection of Motor Vehicles
Article 1 - Equipment Generally
Part 4 - Horns, Exhaust Systems, Mirrors, Windshields, Tires, Safety Belts, Energy Absorption Systems
§ 40-8-73.1. Tinting of Windows or Windshields
- As used in this Code section, the term:
- "Light reflectance" means the ratio of the amount of total light that is reflected outward by a product or material to the amount of total light falling on the product or material.
- "Light transmission" means the ratio of the amount of total light, expressed in percentages, which is allowed to pass through a surface to the amount of light falling on the surface.
- "Manufacturer" means a person who produces or assembles a vehicle glass-coating material or who fabricates, laminates, or tempers a safety-glazing material, which material reduces light transmission.
- "Material" means any transparent product or substance which reduces light transmission.
- "Multipurpose passenger vehicle" means a motor vehicle designed to carry ten persons or less which is constructed on a truck chassis or with special features for occasional off-road operation.
- Except as provided in this Code section, it shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle in this state:
- Which has material and glazing applied or affixed to the front windshield, which material and glazing when so applied or affixed reduce light transmission through the windshield; or
- Which has material and glazing applied or affixed to the rear windshield or the side or door windows, which material and glazing when so applied or affixed reduce light transmission through the windshield or window to less than 32 percent, plus or minus 3 percent, or increase light reflectance to more than 20 percent.
- The provisions of subsection (b) of this Code section shall not apply to:
- Adjustable sun visors which are mounted forward of the side windows and are not attached to the glass;
- Signs, stickers, or other matter which is displayed in a seven-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield farthest removed from the driver or signs, stickers, or other matter which is displayed in a five-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield nearest the driver;
- Direction, destination, or termination signs upon a passenger common carrier motor vehicle if the signs do not interfere with the driver's clear view of approaching traffic;
- Any transparent item which is not red or amber in color which is placed on the uppermost six inches of the windshield;
- Any federal, state, or local sticker or certificate which is required by law to be placed on any windshield or window;
- The rear windshield or the side or door windows, except those windows to the right and left of the driver of:
- A multipurpose passenger vehicle;
- A school bus, any other bus used for public transportation, and any bus or van owned or leased by any religious or any nonprofit organization duly incorporated under the laws of this state;
- Any limousine owned or leased by a public or private entity; or
- Any other vehicle, the windows or windshields of which have been tinted or darkened before factory delivery or permitted by federal law or regulation;
- Any law enforcement vehicle;
- Any vehicle that displays a valid special license plate issued to a government official under Code Section 40-2-61, 40-2-63, or 40-2-64;
- Any vehicle owned or operated by the state or a political subdivision thereof and that displays a valid license plate issued pursuant to Code Section 40-2-37; or
- Any vehicle operated in the course of business by a person licensed or registered under Chapter 38 of Title 43, relating to private detective and private security businesses.
- The Department of Public Safety may, upon application from a person required for medical reasons to be shielded from the direct rays of the sun and only if such application is supported by written attestation of such fact from a person licensed to practice medicine under Chapter 34 of Title 43 or a person certified as an optometrist under Chapter 30 of Title 43, issue an exemption from the provisions of this Code section for any motor vehicle owned by such person or in which such person is a habitual passenger. The exemption shall be issued with such conditions and limitations as may be prescribed by the Department of Public Safety.
- No person shall install any material upon the windshields or windows of any motor vehicle, the installation of which would result in a reduction of light transmission or an increase in light reflectance in violation of subsection (b) of this Code section.
- Notwithstanding any other provision of this Code section, commercial motor vehicles operated in this state are subject to the specifications of or limitations relating to windshield or window glazing or the application of light reducing or reflectance material to the windshield or windows as provided for in the federal motor carrier safety regulations contained in 49 C.F.R. 393.60 and adopted by the commissioner of public safety pursuant to Code Section 40-1-8.
- The Department of Public Safety is authorized to promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Code section.
- Any person who violates subsection (b) or (e) of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
(Code 1981, §40-8-73.1, enacted by Ga. L. 1983, p. 1300, § 1; Ga. L. 1984, p. 1211, § 1; Ga. L. 1984, p. 22, § 40; Ga. L. 1985, p. 149, § 40; Ga. L. 1989, p. 896, § 1; Ga. L. 1992, p. 2785, § 27; Ga. L. 2000, p. 951, § 5B-3; Ga. L. 2005, p. 331, § 1/HB 20; Ga. L. 2005, p. 334, § 19-3/HB 501; Ga. L. 2006, p. 782, § 1/SB 570; Ga. L. 2007, p. 206, § 1/HB 79; Ga. L. 2011, p. 479, § 16/HB 112.)Code Commission notes.
- The amendment of this Code section by Ga. L. 2005, p. 331, § 1/HB 20, irreconcilably conflicted with and was treated as superseded by Ga. L. 2005, p. 334, § 19-3/HB 501. See County of Butts v. Strahan, 151 Ga. 417 (1921).
Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2005, "Public" was substituted for "Motor Vehicle" following "The Department of" in subsection (f) (now subsection (g)).Administrative Rules and Regulations.
- Safety Glazing Material and Window Tinting Manufacturer and Installer Requirements, Official Compilation of the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, Department of Public Safety, Chapter 570-22.Law reviews.
- For annual survey of criminal law, see 57 Mercer L. Rev. 113 (2005).
- Appellate court's finding that O.C.G.A. § 40-8-73.1 was unconstitutional as no rational connection existed between the residence of the driver of a vehicle and the goal of improving law enforcement officer safety during traffic stops, did not warrant suppression of evidence seized during a traffic stop of the defendant's vehicle, because the investigating officer had reason to believe that the vehicle's windows were tinted darker than that permitted by the statute. Ciak v. State, 278 Ga. 27, 597 S.E.2d 392 (2004).Basis for traffic stop.
- Trial court erred in granting the defendants' motion to suppress the drug evidence seized following a traffic stop for a violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-8-73.1 as an officer's observations of a vehicle's dark tinted windows, and belief that such violated the statute were sufficient to justify the stop; moreover, a free air search by a drug-sniffing dog did not violate the defendants' Fourth Amendment rights. State v. Simmons, 283 Ga. App. 141, 640 S.E.2d 709 (2006).
Convictions for violating 18 U.S.C. §§ 472 and 922(g) were affirmed since the district court did not err by denying the defendant's motion to suppress evidence because the vehicle stop did not violate the Fourth Amendment; a police officer had a reasonable suspicion that the defendant's vehicle violated the Georgia window tint law, O.C.G.A. § 40-8-73.1(b)(2). United States v. Moody, 240 Fed. Appx. 858 (11th Cir. 2007)(Unpublished).
When an officer decided to stop the defendant's truck, the officer knew state law prohibited excessive window tinting and that the officer could not see the driver or inside the truck, thus, the officer reasonably believed the defendant had violated O.C.G.A. § 40-8-73.1(b), thus there was no error in denying the defendant's Fourth Amendment motion to suppress in connection with the defendant's drug conviction under 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). United States v. Garcia, 284 Fed. Appx. 791 (11th Cir. 2008)(Unpublished).
Trial court's denial of a defendant's motion to suppress the evidence of drugs found in the defendant's vehicle was upheld as the trial court properly determined that the stop of the defendant's vehicle was not pretextual in that two officers observed the defendant's vehicle with tinted windows and following another vehicle too closely. Pollack v. State, 294 Ga. App. 400, 670 S.E.2d 165 (2008).
Trial court did not err in denying the defendant's motion to suppress after finding that the excessive-window-tinting statute, O.C.G.A. § 40-8-73.1(b), was unconstitutional because an officer had a reasonable articulable suspicion to justify the traffic stop; the officer observed that the defendant's vehicle had darkly tinted windows and reasonably believed that to be in violation of § 40-8-73.1, and the fact that the statute was later found to be unconstitutional did not render the stop invalid. Christy v. State, 315 Ga. App. 647, 727 S.E.2d 269 (2012).
When cocaine was found during a traffic stop after a dog sniff, suppression was not warranted because the officer had probable cause to believe that the car had illegal window tint. United States v. Whitlock, F.3d (11th Cir. Oct. 19, 2012)(Unpublished).
Officer's traffic stop of the defendants' vehicle was not pretextual for purposes of their request for suppression because it was undisputed that the officer believed that the vehicle had a window tint violation which, upon testing the window, was confirmed. State v. Price, 322 Ga. App. 778, 746 S.E.2d 258 (2013).No pretermination of whether windows were tinted before factory delivery necessary.
- Exception in O.C.G.A. § 40-8-73.1(c)(6)(D) did not require that police determine whether the windows were darkened before factory delivery or as permitted by federal law before stopping a vehicle for a window tint violation, nor did it mean that an officer's failure to do so required suppression of evidence found during a search subsequent to such a stop based on a lack of probable cause. State v. Williams, 354 Ga. App. 418, 841 S.E.2d 66 (2020).
Officer had a reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle based on a belief of a window tint violation as the officer could see the officer's reflection in the window. State v. Williams, 354 Ga. App. 418, 841 S.E.2d 66 (2020).
Cited in Williams v. State, 293 Ga. App. 842, 668 S.E.2d 825 (2008); Sommese v. State, 299 Ga. App. 664, 683 S.E.2d 642 (2009); Perry v. State, 317 Ga. App. 885, 733 S.E.2d 57 (2012).
OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
- Offense in O.C.G.A. § 40-8-73.1, which provides that a resident who operates a motor vehicle in this state that has material applied to the windshield or front windows that restricts the amount of light entering the vehicle shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, is designated as an offense for which persons charged with a violation shall be fingerprinted. 1984 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 84-44.